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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Mar 9, 2012 7:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Unbroken Chain/Eyes of the World Jam '74

These jams are very different, actually. Their similarities lie in the fact that both involve rather dramatic shifts to minor keys, changing the overall mood of the song, and in Garcia's use of minor third ladders.

The Eyes jam is a modulation from key of E major to the minor third, which in this case is G# minor, but maintains (I think) a standard 4/4 time signature. It's an unusual change, but moving from the sunny key of E major to G#m7 produces a nice dramatic effect.

Unbroken Chain is a lot more complicated. The song is in the key of C, but the jam segment modulates first to Phil's bass arpeggios (Gm7), and then through four bars of this chord progression: Dm7 Cmaj7 Gm7 F Em. The whole thing is done in some kind of funky time signature, like 11/8 or something.

One thing that might make all of these jams sound similar, including Stronger Than Dirt and Help>Slip, is the way Jerry will climb up and down ladders of minor thirds to get that really tweaky, unsettling effect. The most salient example is in the lick linking Help and Slipknot (which is still one of the hardest things for me to play in the entire GD repertoire).